Introduction The concept of child poverty evolved when the dominantapproach, that defined poverty in monetary terms and at the household level ingeneral, excluded children’s special needs and their fulfilment (Gordon, A. et.al. 2001, Gordon A. et.
al. 2003, Minujin, A. et. al. 2006).
Defining the concept as well as measurementof child poverty by UNICEF initiatives in the early-2000s has opened a newdimension to see vulnerability of children. This has helped the internationalcommunity, national actors and practitioners to think about the poverty ofchildren particularly and beyond a merely monetary poverty line at thehousehold level. Its implication in programmatic interventions is alsosignificant. The Concept of Child Poverty Children(0-18 years old population) share about one-third of the world population (PRB2014, Unicef 2014).
According to latest available data, the world’s child populationis 2.2 billion (Unicef 2014). However, in most of the mainstream povertyliteratures and measures, children were treated along with the adult populationuntil recently (Gordon, D. et. al. 2001, Gordon D. et. al.
2003, Minujin,A. et. al. 2006).Evenafter many years of adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC),over half of the children in the developing world were living in poverty (Minujin,A. et. al.
2006, 481; Unicef 2005). One of the reasons for this failure of theworld could be that the vulnerability of the children was ignored because of lackof appropriate measurement. During that time the dominant approach ofidentifying and measuring poverty in monetary terms was challenged by the newlyevolved multidisciplinary approached such as the human rights-based approach,the basic needs approach and the capability approach (ibid, 481-482). However,none of the approaches differentiate between the concept of child poverty andpoverty in general (ibid, 482).
As Minujin, A. et. al. 2006 views, “Not only has child poverty been excludedfrom the debate but it has also been invisible in the efforts to measure andtackle poverty” (Minujin, A. et. al.
2006, 482). Children are thesignificant sufferers of poverty and inequality and their sufferings aredifferent for that of the adults (Minujin, 2012). Children have specific and different needs. As Minujin (2012) sates, “While an adult mayfall into poverty temporarily, falling into poverty in childhood can last alifetime – rarely does a child get a second chance at an education or a healthystart in life.
Even short periods of food deprivation can impact children’s long-termdevelopment. If children do not receive adequate nutrition, they grow smallerin size and intellectual capacity, are more vulnerable to life-threateningdiseases, perform worse in school, and ultimately, are less likely to beproductive adults. Child poverty threatens not only the individual child, butis likely to be passed on to future generations, entrenching and evenexacerbating inequality in society” (Minujin 2012). The crucial question of the debate was whether childpoverty needs to be defined independently, or should it be defined in relationto the adults in the household? (Gordon, D.
et. al 2001). As Gordon, D. (2001)concludes, “According to the Conventionon the Rights of the Child (CRC), the answer is that it should be definedindependently.
The CRC gives children the rights to survive, develop,participate and be protected” (Gordon, D. et. al 2001, 2). UNICEF,based on the human rights approach and the Convention on the Rights of theChild, defines child poverty as the deprivation of a range of both material andsocial supports and services that it considers to be essential to ensurechildren’s well-being ((Minujin, A. et. al.
2006,485). UNICEF’s workingdefinition of child poverty says: “Children living in poverty experiencedeprivation of the material, spiritual and emotional resources needed tosurvive, develop and thrive, leaving them unable to enjoy their rights, achievetheir full potential or participate as full and equal members of society.” (UNICEF 2005, 18).